Competing with the big box super stores is tough for today’s retailers. And their equivalent exist in every category, except truly emerging markets. So competing is tough for everyone, except those who recognize it’s not about competing with the category leader. It’s about doing what they don’t, which is needed, wanted and demanded by enough customers to create a business that meets your goals.
Today’s example is Hot Mama. This midwest (currently) retailer focuses on mom’s with young kids. They have set the store up so kids love to go there and they have things to do so mom can shop. The aisles will handle double-wides (strollers) and the sales associates are also babysitters. Megan Tamte, the CEO, knows what her customers need to make the shopping experience work.
Then there are the clothes and the staff. She carries over 200 brands in the 17+ store locations and she does not carry “mom jeans” or sweatpants. The edgy name also reflects her focus on women (25-65) who “… want to be hot.” Their President, Kimberly Ritzer says, “Our stylists can outfit any woman …. based on her body the minute she walks through the door, but they also build personal relationships to find a style that makes her feel comfortable. It’s like shopping with a girlfriend.”
The world does not need you to replace the current category leader in your industry. However, there are almost always under-served segments in the market. Find one you can serve to meet its needs, wants, and demand.